Melvin Gordon is used to breaking tackles and now he wants to break trends.
If the former Badger gets selected in the first round of the National Football League Draft in the upcoming months he’ll be the first running back picked that high in two years. It’s an unprecedented drought – from 1963 to 2012 at least one running back had been picked in the opening round – that Gordon believe he can end.
“There are a lot of running backs out there that are trying to break that trend. We’ve been trying to show people all year that we’re capable of being drafted in the first round,” Gordon said. He and Georgia running back Todd Gurley are the most likely to be chosen in the first 32 picks – and many mock drafts believe their names will be called then. “That’s been a lot of our goals and hopefully we can change that.”
Last year, Gordon rushed for the second-most yards in a single season in NCAA history (2,587) only behind Barry Sanders. His versatility, a combination of power and speed, will make it hard for organizations to overlook him simply because of the recent history at his position.
Could running backs be becoming more expendable and thus no highly sought after early in the draft?
“I can’t answer that. We just have to change that this year and show people that we’re capable of going in the first round,” Gordon stated. The opening round of the NFL Draft will take place on April 30 in Chicago. “It’s a passing league. It’s hard to say that we’re a ‘devalued’ position. I guess teams are just going with the picks they actually need, I don’t know the thoughts that are going through their heads. Maybe they didn’t feel the running backs the last couple of years were first round talent.”
Last season, Bishop Sankey was the first running back taken off the board – and he was chosen with the 54th overall pick. Jeremy Hill taken on the very next pick by the Cincinnati Bengals and finished with 1,124 rushing yards, which was good for 7th-most in the league.
Gordon could put a stop to the running back drought – and also become the first Badger ball-carrier to go in the opening round since Michael Bennett in 2001. He’ll continue to showcase his skills at the NFL Combine through the weekend with the his focus firmly on the first round.